Ubuntu Women Interview on DVLUG Podcast

I had the pleasure of meeting with the folks from the Diablo Valley Linux Users Group (DVLUG) a couple weeks ago who were interested in our work with Ubuntu Women.

Some of the topics I covered were my involvement with LinuxChix, Debian Women and of course our on-going work within the Ubuntu Women project.

Info and download here: Episode 10 – Women of Ubuntu

IRC presentation of UbuntuWomen-it summary

On the 24th of January the #Ubuntu-classroom channel on IRC has hosted a session introducing the local Italian branch of the Ubuntu-Women project. The session was hosted by Flavia Weisghizzi (deindre) and Silvia Bindelli (dolasilla), who told us the reasons behind their efforts, where this idea came from and how they’ve worked so far to get the outcome they achieved.

Silvia and Flavia have been deeply driven in this initiative by the wish to overcome linguistic and cultural barrier that an English mailing list may represent for non native-English speakers. Moreover, a localized branch of Ubuntu Women working in the scope of a LoCo team has the key purpose of building a bridge between local community and international one, by translating in both directions news and initiatives and supporting women who have shown interest in Ubuntu in removing the difficulties that they may encounter due to cultural and/or communication mismatches.

The mentoring program is probably one of the most interesting activities they have undertaken among others: the Ubuntu Woman-it list has become a starting point for many LoCo team’s activities, where female newcomers are oriented in choosing the right team in which to be involved and helped in moving first steps toward that direction. Another initiative is the collaboration with an Italian blog, GirlGeekLife.com, which is publishing articles about Ubuntu and its applications written by UbuntuWomen-it members. Women presence itself in FOSS is often very inspiring: this is the reason why they got going on speakers tutoring project, whose aim is encouraging women participation in FOSS related events and demonstrating that, in spite of every prejudice, women are first class citizens in FOSS world.

Ubuntu Women-it mailing list is subscribed so far by approximately 40 followers, both women and men: even if someone has implied that this was a way to self-isolate women, generally most people were absolutely supportive, and very happy to give their hand to improve such an initiative and getting more women involved.

It’s easy to comprehend the great value of this kind of initiatives, especially in those countries, like Italy, in which machismo writes behavioural rules between the two sexes: keep on considering women a not very remarkable minority, is really an obstacle de facto to outreach of new women, and a certain loss for FOSS community.

You can find out more about Ubuntu Women-it project on http://wiki.ubuntu-it.org/GruppoPromozione/UbuntuWomen

Full logs from this session available here.

Ubuntu Women Full Circle Follow Up with Laura Czajkowski

Back in June 2009, we interviewed Laura Czajkowski about her work in Ubuntu and FOSS. We followed up with her to see how she’s doing and her current involvement in Ubuntu.

First of all, how’s life? In 2009, you were hosting various community activities to promote FOSS- are you still participating in the same meetings or new ones?

It’s pretty good thanks, I’m now living in England and working for Canonical as the Launchpad Support Specialist for the last year which I love. I get to work with great people and work on an open source project, help users every day and I’m still involved in Ubuntu at the same time!

When I was living in Ireland I ran my own unconference OSSBarcamp. It’s been harder to keep that going since I moved to the UK, but I still help coordinate other conferences there and I’m still involved in the Irish LoCo Team. Since moving to the UK, I’ve been helping other groups with their conferences, from education conferences, ODF events, OGGCamp and now my latest unconference I’ve decided to run, HacknTalk. I’ve also been speaking at more conferences and also at schools to talk to students about women in technology, jobs that are out there and the different career paths people can take to get there.

Can you tell me about your current projects within Ubuntu and the teams you’re part of?

So since the last interview I’ve gotten more involved with Ubuntu. I’m now on the LoCo Council and also the Community Council. On any given week I work with loco teams and their queries, whether it be a hosting issue, or how they can request DVDs to conference packs or in some cases- stepping in and helping them work with one another. I love hearing the stories from the different communities and it’s this that makes me want to stay involved and help people promote Ubuntu.

Laura Czajkowski

Laura is currently employed by Canonical and living in the UK actively participating in LoCo events and is a member of the LoCo and Community Council.

Within the community council it’s different. It’s really given me an opportunity to see how other areas of the Ubuntu community are run and how people are involved in it. I had no idea about the Technical Board or what pitfalls it may encounter. I’ve learned about the Edubuntu project from talking to their council and how they are very much hands on and how they get work done. It’s great because it gives me ideas on how I can tweak my projects based on hearing about others experiences. The joys of an open source community is that we share our knowledge.

I’m involved in both the Ireland and UK LoCo teams, from participating in events to running global jams and getting to know the members of the community I talk to every day! I love to meet people their passion for Ubuntu is contagious and it really helps to influence others to get involved!

How will you be involved with Ubuntu moving forward? Do you have any specific projects/goals planned?

Interesting, I’d hope to always be involved in Ubuntu because it is for me one of the most welcoming and open communities out there and for that I am very grateful. It’s provided opportunities for me to learn and also I’ve been rather fortunate to gain employment at Canonical from it. I’ve always tried to lead a balance life work, advocacy, and my own hobbies. If I can keep this up I’ll always be involved. As for planned projects/goals, I’d like to continue my speaking to school kids and possibly do more of this. It was very rewarding seeing 16-18 year-olds get involved in small translations after learning how easy it was to use Launchpad and they could contribute to an Open Source project, even if they couldn’t code Yet! Hopefully my hackntalk unconference will take off and I’ll be running more of these in my spare time 🙂

The original Full Circle Magazine Interview with Laura can be found at http://fullcirclemagazine.org/issue-26/

Ubuntu Classroom Presentation about UW-Italy

Our two newest leadership members Silvia Bindelli (Dolasilla) and Flavia Weisghizzi (Deindre), will be discussing their success with the Ubuntu Women – Italy group. The session will be in the Ubuntu Classroom on Thursday, January 24th at 20:00 UTC.


It all started around 3 years ago, when Flavia got in touch with Silvia, who she met through the UbuntuWomen group, proposing her to set up a localized chapter of the group. The idea came from the observation of the linguistic and cultural gap that may constitute a barrier to many women who, although interested in joining Ubuntu Women, don’t feel comfortable enough with a foreign language.

From then on there have been a lot: public talks throughout several events around Italy, tutoring for newcomers, a collaboration with an Italian blog dedicated to Women in technology, GirlGeekLife. Flavia and Silvia are happy to share their experience, because they both think that this idea may be brought to all locoteams, to help getting more women involved and contributing to the Ubuntu Community.

This event will be held in#ubuntu-classroom on irc.freenode.net (#ubuntu-classroom-chat for questions).

Ubuntu Women- Where are they now? Follow up with Elizabeth Krumbach

Back in 2009, we interviewed Elizabeth Krumbach about her work with Ubuntu and FOSS. We decided to catch up with her and see what she’s doing now.

First of all, how’s life?

Life is great! I’m now living in San Francisco, California. I’ll be starting a new job in 2013 where I’ll have the opportunity to work more directly on open source as my core job function while still having a very systems-focused role. I’m also excited to say that in April I’m getting married, but don’t worry, it’s 3 days after the Ubuntu 13.04 release so I won’t miss that 😉

Lyz currently lives in San Francisco works as a Linux Systems Administrator

It was 10 years ago when you started using Linux, what is the most awesome project you watched evolve over the decade?

I think less than a specific project, it’s the maturing of open source software in general that has been most awesome. While I’m sure people had dreams, I don’t think most of my fellow LUG attendees in 2002 quite realized how open source software would be such a major driving force in some of the biggest internet technology companies in the world just 10 years later. You’re now seeing major mainstream companies investing significant amounts of money into development of open source, and that’s really quite a change from where we were.

That said, I’m really impressed with how far Ubuntu has come. I started using it as I was trying out a few different Debian derivatives and at the time that’s all it really was. Today the wide adoption means that it’s often possible to mention the word Ubuntu to “people on the street” and have a spark of recognition, even if they don’t quite understand what it is they know it’s something important.

Can you tell me about your current projects within Ubuntu and the teams you’re part of?

On a weekly basis I spent a fair amount of time these days with the Ubuntu News team, where I coordinate the newsletter and make sure articles are posted to http://fridge.ubuntu.com. I also still help lead up both the Ubuntu Women and Ubuntu California teams and am involved with Ubuntu Classroom where we host IRC (chat) based classes for folks to learn everything from using Ubuntu to getting involved in various areas to programming. I’ve recently been working to re-star the Ubuntu Learning project following some volunteer work I did with a non-profit in Ghana that is deploying Edubuntu computers, we found that training people on how to use Ubuntu was really important and there isn’t a lot of training material out there, we’re seeking to change that.

Will you describe your involvement with the Ubuntu Women Project and why you believe it’s an important group within Ubuntu?

I’m one of the elected leaders of the project, which these days means I make sure meetings happen and that blueprint items we commit to each cycle get worked on or handled in some way. A lot of motivating of team mates and nudging to get things done as all of us are quite busy outside of our obligations with the project.

I really believe in Ubuntu and open source and want to see it continue to succeed, and I believe getting as many people involved as possible is really key to this. Groups like Ubuntu Women and Ubuntu Youth, and similar events and initiatives targeted at minorities at conferences and within communities work to specifically attract contributors who may have been historically overlooked or whose contributions discounted or ignored. On a personal level, having female role models and mentors, being able to get together with other technical women over dinner while at a tech conference and having a place to go to if I encounter questionable behavior have been vital to my growth in technology and open source so I want to see Ubuntu Women continue to be that group for other women joining our community.

You were recently recognized as an outstanding leader and contributor with the O’Reilly Open Source Award, how did that feel?

Surprising! I do open source work out of a love and passion for technology and I didn’t expect such recognition for it. It also made me reflect a lot on what caused me to go from a casual open source user to someone who spends so much of her time on open source and for me a huge part of it has been the Ubuntu community. Through this community I have the opportunity to work with dozens of brilliant, passionate people on exciting projects, and I never have to leave my living room. It’s continually motivating and inspiring and makes me want to work on more things and encourage other people to join in.

In your previous interview, you had a goal of getting the Debian LedgerSMB  project into a Debian release. How is that project going?

My involvement in the project pretty much ended in 2009 when I shifted my focus to other projects. Fortunately everything was in SVN so when a new maintainer reached out to me to work on it he was able to easily pick up right where I left off. The package made it into quantal and is slated for inclusion in the next stable version of Debian, hopefully being released within the next couple months.

How will you be involved with Ubuntu moving forward? Do you have any specific projects/goals planned?

Some of my core day job work these past couple years has been similar to that of many Linux systems administrators – the move from physical servers to virtual. In my case I still managed a lot of bare metal but we’ve been moving to small KVM-based clusters and building the infrastructure around them. I’ve now started to explore the offerings that the Ubuntu server team and OpenStack have been working on and will be increasing my involvement in those areas in the coming months.

The original interview with Lyz Krumbach can be found at Full Circle Magazine, Issue 24.

Career Days: Software Release Coordinator wrap-up

On Wednesday, October 18, 2012 at 19:00 UTC Silvia Bindelli (Dolasilla) presented on being a Software Release Coordinator. Here’s the better-late-than-never wrap-up of her session.

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Career Path

  • Started being involved in opensource in 2007 but has been using open source tools for longer
  • Graduated at the Politecnico di Milano 4 years ago, with a master thesis in software engineering
  • Master thesis was about an autonomic system (a system able to self-manage) and it was integrating some open source projects, like for instance LIME (http://lime.sourceforge.net/index.html)
  • After graduation she worked for 5 months at the university as an assistant researcher in the same field as her master thesis (software engineering)
  • She then worked in the IT department of a fashion company where she was in charge of the business process management project
  • “I love talking to people, and improving their life through technology and that position gave the possibility to really do that”
  • During that time she had to discuss with managers to understand the way they worked, and then implement the same or improved processes in the tool in order to automatize part of their activities and provide a way to organize the output of each phase, in order to build an organized knowledge base structured on the activity flow.
  • She had a lot of fun “playing” with it in order to customize it to better fit the needs of the company and said that “Such a job was allowing me to deal both with technologies and with people, that is a balance I try to find in all my jobs, as I love both aspects.”
  • After a couple of years she moved to south of France, looking for new experiences but always trying to keep those two element alive in her day-to-day job and managed to get it in her current position as a release coordinator.

Current Work

  • She is currently working in a big IT company which operates mainly in the online booking business. Bookings of flights, hotels, etc…
  • Her job mainly consists in coordinating the activities that bring a new release of a software or a patch to the production systems for one of the divisions. “Basically my role starts after the QA phases and before the actual use of the system by everyone.”
  • Customers are airlines, hotels and even travel agencies whose needs they need as far as customizations
  • If we look at the day-to-day activity, it actually consists of a mixture of technical and social skills that you need to use everyday.
    From a technical point of view, for instance, in her team they maintain the configurations of the the production systems, they get the updates of such configuration set by architecture and development teams, and store them in the tool to make sure they are applied to the right server farm
  • About the social side of the job, instead, they often have to coordinate several activities at the same time (technical changes on production servers, new customization of customer websites, new software releases,…), and often find themselves to be in the middle, having to mediate between the need to keep production environments as much stable as possible, and the needs of marketing to keep the customers happy complying to all of their requests for new features


The session wrapped up with a Q&A session, with questions including:

  • What is the usual time table you are working on? How long is the release process?
  • Is your job one that you “leave at work” or is it the type of job that if something goes wrong you’ll get a call during the night that something needs attention?

Full logs which include very thorough answers to these questions are available on our wiki:


If you’re interested in getting involved, please see the Ubuntu Women Career Days wiki page or email Cheri Francis or myself (lyz@ubuntu.com).

These sessions are open to the whole community, you don’t need to be a woman to attend or participate.

Ubuntu Women- Where are they now? Follow up with Amber Graner

Amber Graner is currently working as the Community and Social Media Manager at Linaro

Back in 2010, we interviewed Amber Graner about her work with Ubuntu and FOSS. We decided to catch up with her to see what she’s working on now.

Can you tell me about where you are now with your Ubuntu involvement compared to the Full Circle Magazine interview in 2010?

Wow, I wish I could say I was as involved as I was then; however, one of the things we stressed in Ubuntu Women (UW) is that we aren’t a group to collect women in Ubuntu and just keep them involved in the UW project,but more of a springboard to not only Ubuntu contribution but to the whole of FOSS. I still help a little here and there on the Ubuntu News Team if needed, though Elizabeth Krumbach, and others on the team are solid and rarely need input from me. Which is awesome!

I guess the same holds true for many of the other areas I was involved in, at some point we all have to pass the torch. I can only hope I did a good job of doing that. I enjoy mentoring and helping people find their way and still get emails, pings on IRC or chat requests about getting involved in Ubuntu, Linaro and Open Source in general. I absolutely love helping those who reach out to me! It’s just more of a one on one personal level now.

I still use Ubuntu daily and given the opportunity to discuss it, I will with anyone. Even country music singer Brantley Gilbert heard about Ubuntu and Google+ Hangouts on Air when I was at his concert recently! When I attend the Carolina Panthers Football games I always find the Ubuntu, or open source users near me, and if they aren’t familiar with it at the beginning of the game they are by the end of the game. No one is immune to my excitement about using Linux!

What projects are you currently involved with?

Currently, I am the Community and Social Media Manager at Linaro and as such I have the opportunity to use various ARM-processor based boards. With Ubuntu, I’m not involved with as many projects as I would like to be. However, now that I have this new role at Linaro I am very interested in how to bring more awareness about not only Linaro, but ARM in general to more people.

Locally, I am working on trying to find ways to get the middle and high schools to offer not only Ubuntu classes, but Open Source Software as a whole. I want people to know they have choices and that freedom of choice is important. I am still very active in public speaking and haven’t set my schedule for 2013, but it’s important to me that people know the impact that participating in an Open Source project can have especially in terms of personal growth and success. The philosophies and tools that are used in Open Source projects have helped me to become a stronger, more independent, successful me in not only my project life, but my personal and professional life as well and I want to continue to encourage others to get involved. I can’t even begin to tell you all the ways my life has improved since becoming involved. Gone are those “by the techie for the techie” days in FOSS; you don’t have to hack on the Linux-kernel or even know what it is to get involved in the Open Source project of your choice. Open Source is inclusive and open to anyone willing to get involved and help.

Would you say you are more of a techie now as opposed to an everyday user?

Hmm, that’s always an interesting question for me to try and answer. If you ask any of my friends who’ve gotten to know me since joining the Ubuntu community in 2009, they would all say with 100% certainty that I am more of a techie. I think I am more like this weird hybrid user. I am not a developer, I mean I don’t write code, but I am certainly not the typical everyday user either. I’m constantly pegging my CPU, locking up something, finding a really weird race conditions where I have to modify or delete something in a config file to fix it. I’ve gotten to help troubleshoot various kernels and more. Heck on that really rare occasion, where I manage to really bork a machine trying something new, I just re-install and move on. Life is short and usually it’s something I did to break it so rather than bug someone about “wtf just happened?” I just fix it with a fresh install. That’s not to say that my husband, who works for Canonical, doesn’t get an ear full. 🙂

While I am not as technical as our amazing engineers at Linaro, I do learn more about our member hardware everyday and to that degree I would say I am more technical.

Where do you see yourself moving forward in regards to Ubuntu involvement?

Honestly, I am not 100% sure and I think that’s OK. I think if you talk to anyone, the project they started their involvement in FOSS with isn’t always the one they are involved in 5 years later and therein is the beauty of Open Source-choice, freedom, inclusion, and the ever evolving scope of knowledge and skills we acquire. Just as water finds its own level, I think we in FOSS need to do that as well.

It’s so hard to be on the outside of the fishbowl, especially when it was such an everyday part of my life in 2010. I was freelancing then and had more time to volunteer and be part of the community. I think Ubuntu will always be a “first love” when it comes to open source and community contribution. I have to remain balanced between work, family, and volunteer time and with 2 teenagers active in marching band, a lot of my free time now goes to them and their activities. Plus my husband and I just celebrated our 20 year anniversary back in September and we are starting to spend the times he’s home together and unplugged- going to concerts, spending time with friends, our kids and each other. I think community contribution is all about doing what you can when you can, but not losing sight of what’s important in your life either. Sometimes you just have to know when to say enough and I think I’ve finally found that balance that is right for not only me, but also my family.

Don’t get me wrong, I miss the community and all my friends and all the awesomeness that is contained in the Ubuntu Community. I’ve always said as a women I CAN have it all, I just can’t have it all at one time. There is a time and place for everything and I am not sure if that time and place with and in Ubuntu has passed or if it will come around again – I guess time will tell.

Getting involved in an open source project reaches well beyond the keyboard and I would encourage anyone who wants to get involved to do so.

The original interview with Amber Graner can be found in Full Circle Magazine, Issue 35

Ubuntu Women at UDS-R

From October 29th through November 1st Ubuntu Developers from around the world came together for the bi-annual Ubuntu Developer Summit, this time being held in Copenhagen, Denmark.

During this event, several project members were able to come together for a dinner:


Additional Photos from attendee Mohi available here

And a full session during the summit itself to meet with other women in the community and brainstorm some ideas for upcoming initiatives this cycle.

Notes from that session are available here, and a video of the session here (starts about 21 minutes in).

Discussions included working on a new contest for this cycle to generate excitement about the project, this time with randomized prizes (rather than voted upon “winners”), recruitment of volunteers for more Career Days sessions and how the Italian team runs their local Ubuntu Women chapter.

Career Days – October 18th!

We’re back again with another Career Days session!

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One of the newest leadership members of the Ubuntu Women team, Silvia Bindelli (Dolasilla) will be presenting about working as a Software Release Coordinator. The job involves keeping track of both people and technology, so we’re excited to hear about it!

The session will be held on Thursday October 18th at 19:00 UTC in #ubuntu-classroom and #ubuntu-classroom-chat on irc.freenode.net

Also accessible via the webchat link here: http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=ubuntu-classroom%2Cubuntu-classroom-chat&uio=d4

For more information, please check out http://wiki.ubuntu-women.org/CareerDays or contact myself at cheri703@ubuntu.com or Elizabeth Krumbach at lyz@ubuntu.com

Ubuntu Women Leadership Election Results!

Hey Everyone! The election results are in!

We had an unexpected result: A tie! So, Congratulations to our TWO new leadership members: Flavia and Silvia!

We decided that since we don’t exactly have high conflict situations where we need an odd number to break stalemates, having a leadership team of 4 would be awesome. 😀

So please join us in congratulating Silvia and Flavia, and we’ll be dumping a lot of work on them as soon as possible. 😉